Launching Common Woodworking

The day has finally arrived to launch Common Woodworking! Over the last year we have been working to create content which will guide and encourage beginners to get into woodworking, regardless of their level of skill. Our tool guides provide the basic knowledge which will enable you to start or continue your woodworking journey.

Paul and I have been working together to create beginner friendly tool guides

Some of our members found the projects on our sister site, Woodworking Masterclasses, too advanced so we wanted to ensure we had somewhere which would suit both advanced woodworkers and those just starting out too.

The guides are written by myself and checked by Paul, Joseph and Phil. As a beginner woodworker myself, I can offer the perspective of a complete novice. Where woodworking terminology comes second nature to Paul, I can identify the areas which other beginners may find more difficult.

Working with Paul, we brought woodworking back to basics. Once drafted, Joseph or Phil will check the guides to make sure the information is clear and correct, then it is passed onto Paul for a second check. This thorough checking process often highlights the areas which need more explanation, whether that be through photography or by using a short video.

By sharing projects on our Twitter and Instagram, and discussing topics on the forum, we hope to create a beginner woodworking community where no question is considered ‘too obvious’.

Over time we will release more easy-to-follow projects which involve tools that a beginner is likely to have (you can view our spoon and spatula courses here). Project suggestions are always welcome and can be posted on our forum thread here.

The courses offer a step-by-step format which allows you to mark through each step, so even if you can’t finish that project straight away, your progress will be saved for next time you log into your account.

To help people who are completely new to the tools, we have created exercises to replicate different uses of the tools and get you familiar with how to use and hold them, this is a great way to practice before you take on a project.

Through a mixture of practical woodworking and research, we have created several tool guides which will help those new to woodworking

We know that not everyone will have every tool, so in the future we hope to tailor the courses you view to the tools you own, encouraging you to update your ‘toolbox’ and help us make sure we are creating the best suited projects for our members.

Becoming a member on Common Woodworking will give you access to the courses, exercises and forums, you can even sign up to hear first when new content is published to our site. We will have two membership options in the future, similar to Woodworking Masterclasses. One will be a free membership which gives you access to a sample of our projects, and the other will be a paid membership which gives you exclusive access to new courses and exercises.

If you have an account on Woodworking Masterclasses, you will be able to use these log in details to sign into Common Woodworking, and vice versa. To sign up for FREE, create an account here.

I look forward to keeping you up to date with all things beginner woodworking!


Research and Content Creator for Common Woodworking

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  1. Awesome! I love the exercises. Certainly the projects teach technique, but sometimes it’s nice to do specific practice exercises so we don’t “practice” on a piece of wood with a lot of work in it!

    Also – the saw video really shows off what the new shop/studio can do.

    Many thanks as always!

  2. Wonderful idea, thanks so much for this, I’ve been watching Paul’s videos and realising how steep my learning curve really is, this new site is perfect for someone who has only ever made “rustic” items before because I lacked the skill to do better.

  3. As a beginner working at building Paul’s workbench design presently I welcome this. I have daily ups and downs as I progress (and sometimes don’t). I don’t know if you want suggestions or not, but if you do……
    a) material on troubleshooting could be a really useful – for example, I spent forever fettling & refettling a Stanley #4 following advice on this site and in Paul’s books but never quite getting good results. It’s hard when you know so little, to figure out WHY… even when you follow guidance to the letter. Was it the sole, the iron, the frog or my technique? I bought diamond plates last year and seem to have worn out my coarse one already working on this plane Yet finally a new iron last week transformed the plane. Still unclear about why – the old one had been sharpened and flattened umpteen times. My bad, perhaps but when you don’t understand what’s wrong you don’t know what to fix.
    b) exactly HOW flat or HOW accurate is another tough area for a novice. I watch Paul’s videos where he eyeballs the workpiece and says “that’s close enough” or “I’m happy with that” but it’s not obvious to me when it’s worth persisting to improve precision and when it isn’t. I mention this not because I’m lazy or want a shortcut but because I recognize that trying to achieve perfection in one dimension sometimes gives me problems in another
    c) Finally, what to do when it’s not quite right is another issue for us “noobs”. If my tenon isn’t tight on 4 sides do I scrap that component and start again or is there a workaround? What if a great big knot made out of kryptonite (or so it seems) gets in the way of planing a surface smooth? Or your mortises don’t quite meet in the middle?
    Hope you’ll not perceive any of this as criticism or negativity towards a wonderful source of material that has inspired and educated me ( in ways I never even knew I wanted to be inspired or educated) 🙂

  4. Hi Izzy
    I don’t normal comment or post on blogs but i feel i have this time. I have stumbled across Paul’s videos online and now a member of the common woodworking, i have watched the restoring plane one and other sharping planes, i can now sharpen and flatten and use my planes to the extend i bought a block plane and router plane and rescued my 8 year old number 4 and i can use them.
    Let Paul know to keep going as he is inspiring new woodworkers oh and i have the Woodworking 1&2 book.


  5. Hi Izzy
    On Colin’s comment above I think what he is looking for and something that Paul has built up over the years is experience and this cant be shown in a video it comes with working at your craft over many years (using the tools etc ).


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